The Isle of Man’s commercial development division has hired Polhill
Communications as its first retained PR agency in almost a decade to
promote the island as an offshore investment centre.
The commercial development division, part of the Treasury, encourages
financial services firms to settle on the island, but has not used a
regular public relations adviser since the defunct Streets Financial in
the late 1980s.
Commercial development officer Michael Gates explained that a marketing
strategy study commissioned by the division last year had recommended
using a PR agency to help fend off competition from offshore rivals like
Dublin and the Channel Islands.
‘In a very competitive market like ours unless you are prepared to take
the initiative and promote yourself you are dead,’ said Gates. ‘It’s a
fact that others are becoming more competitive and so we need to
Polhill, which already works for the Isle of Man-based offshore arms of
Tyndall Bank and Scottish Provident, beat off competition from five
other agencies - Focus PR, Dewe Rogerson, Lowe Bell Financial, Tavistock
Communications and local agency High Profile Marketing. The account is
thought to be worth around pounds 70,000 in annual fees.
Polhill will target professional practices, including insurance
companies, banks, fund managers and lawyers through the trade and
national business press, pointing out the advantages of setting up
business on the island.
A Crown dependency with its own system of government and low tax rates,
the Isle of Man draws more than a third of its gross domestic product
from financial services. In recent years it has faced growing
competition from Dublin which benefits from lower corporate taxation and
access to the European Union.